The Colts might be prepared to let Mack walk in free agency. Douglas DeFelice-USA TODAY Sports

Prior to Marlon Mack‘s Achilles tear ending his season after one game, the Colts had not entered extension discussions with the veteran running back. They might be prepared to let Mack walk in free agency.

The Colts saw second-round pick Jonathan Taylor finish his rookie year strong, and the team has Nyheim Hines and Jordan Wilkins under contract for one more season apiece. This already pointed to Mack needing to find a new team this year, and GM Chris Ballard is not sure the Colts will be able to provide the contract the four-year veteran will seek.

“Marlon Mack broke my heart. That sucked,” Ballard said of Mack’s injury, via the Indianapolis Star’s Joel Erickson. “I watched him work his butt off here all season to get back. Marlon Mack deserves a contract, unequivocally. He deserves a good contract. I don’t know if we are going to be able to do that here.”

A few members of the standout 2017 running back draft class received extensions thus far. The Panthers (Christian McCaffrey), Saints (Alvin Kamara), Vikings (Dalvin Cook) and Bengals (Joe Mixon) authorized new deals for their starters. But Mack, Aaron Jones and Chris Carson are unsigned for 2021. Cardinals transition-tagged back Kenyan Drake is set to join this trio in unrestricted free agency. Broncos back Phillip Lindsay will also be a restricted free agent, adding to a crowded interesting marketplace.

Mack, 25 in March, reeled off a 1,000-yard season (in 14 games) in 2019 and surpassed 900 yards (in 12 contests) as Indianapolis’ starter the year prior. However, the Achilles injury might force the former fourth-round pick to accept a one-year deal and would figure to lower his price on a multiyear pact. That could keep him in play for the Colts, but their backfield depth points to Mack playing elsewhere next season.

This article first appeared on Pro Football Rumors and was syndicated with permission.

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